Gerber Life Family Times --- News and tips for familes of all ages and stages of life

Summer Backyard Safety

April 2003 Issue

Open Wide
Kids and dental care

Kids have
memories too

Baby Steps
Shoes for youngsters

Summer Backyard

Buyer beware

Mail Bag

Gerber Life
Family Times Archive

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Warm summer weather is here again and along with it comes time to move family activities outdoors! From picnics and barbeques to games and just lounging on the porch or deck, living outdoors calls for its own line of safety concerns for all members of the family. Here are just a few things to take into consideration while having fun in the sun close to home:

When mowing grass, keep pedestrians, children, and pets a safe distance (30 feet or more) away from your mower. Walk your yard prior to mowing to remove any debris (rocks, limbs, bones, etc.) that may become projectiles if hit by a mower blade. Never let young children play with mowers or ride on riding lawn mowers.

When using rotary weed trimmers, wear long pants, heavy shoes, long-sleeved shirts, and protective eyewear. Trimmers easily catch rocks and twigs that can be thrown at your body or at anyone in the vicinity. Once again, keep pedestrians, children, and pets a safe distance from a trimmer in use.

Use barbeque grills in well-ventilated outdoor areas away from any combustible materials (bags, dry leaves, paper, etc.) Keep children under close supervision while using grills (gas, charcoal, or electric). The outside surfaces of grills become extremely hot and can cause serious burns to curious little hands. Also make sure your grill is sitting on a level, stable surface to avoid any chance of it tipping over. Newer grills also have side burners for saucepans—if possible, keep handles out of reach so children aren’t tempted to pull the saucepan off, possibly spilling the hot contents on themselves.

Remember that dark colors absorb heat when placed in the sun. We all have experienced sitting on a vinyl, plastic, or leather surface (usually the seat of a car that has been sitting in direct sunlight with the windows rolled up) while in shorts.

If pets are outside, make sure they have a continuous supply of water and a shaded place to retreat to if the sun becomes too intense.

When using lawn fertilizers and pesticides, read the instructions carefully. Keep pets and children out of the area during application to avoid inhalation and exposure to dust and over spray. Also keep them off the area for the recommended period of time after application to avoid any possible contamination through bare feet or ingestion.

Examine your wooden deck. If it is older, you may have areas that have started to splinter on the floorboards or on the railing. Sliding a hand or foot over the area could cause a nasty case of splinters. Repair or replace the area as required (be careful if sanding deck materials—many deck materials are made of lumber treated with arsenic and sawdust may be a health hazard). Also examine spaces under hand railings (beneath the railing cap). Bees, wasps, yellow jackets, and other nesting insects may have found a home there. Take it from experience—there is nothing more frightening than grabbing the railing and placing your fingers into a nest of wasps. Spray them from a distance and remove the nest to avoid any problems. Continue to check periodically throughout the summer.

Hopefully these quick tips will help keep summer a safe and enjoyable season for your entire family!

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